Michael Ast’s “a musing from the rocking dock” takes the viewer on an unabashed reverie through coastal landscapes, nude beaches, mountain plains and lakes, conflating both traveled terrain and vantage point. Unlike his first photobook Trying to Find the Ocean (self-published in 2014), which depicted an anxious attempt to flee urban entrapment, here, little is shown of the man-made to lead onlookers astray from fanciful flight. The visual voyage is not concerned with descriptiveness of place or destination. Instead, Ast photographs primal scenes, and those experiencing its latitudes, in order to transcend entropic imbalance for boundless allusions.
A rousing escapism is easily discerned in the naturists, naked in their social revelry, pivoting sequences in the book. They are looked upon, not for voyeuristic measure, but to assimilate perception with liberation. The same holds true for the heightened scenes unfurling at climactic instances between the covers.
Artists sometimes find dutiful call to deliver spirited ascensions, aesthetically culling and parsing moments that commence at his/her elegiac roots. Ast embraces the role, working a pensive wanderlust through emotive tonalities, lyricism, and even occasional humor. A reprieve is presented in a musing from the rocking dock at a time all too bereft of spirit and enterprise.
Publisher: The Unknown Books
36 duotone images
21 x 14,8 cm
Edition of 100
HP Indigo Print
Cover Paper – Gardapat Kiara 250 gr
Inside Paper – Gardapat Kiara 135 gr
all images and text © Michael Ast for The Unknown Books